With 2022 coming to a close, we have collected together our top ten fiction pieces from the year.
‘She must have loved gold seeing that everything in the penthouse was gold. We didn’t sit. Fear didn’t let us see where to sit.’
A new story by Adachioma Ezeano.
‘Please, if you have to waste, waste your diamonds into the pockets of the world’s artists, all you sons and daughters of ease, she thinks with a flare of hatred.’
New writing from Lauren Groff.
‘I had also, a week earlier, been fired for trying to sleep with my boss’s husband. I got the idea from a book, or maybe every book.’
A story by Emily Adrian.
‘The video is being shot on a phone, which accounts for the quality – a shuddering handheld aspect, the image seeming to rise and fall along with a series of breaths.’
A story by Julia Armfield, author of Our Wives Under the Sea.
‘I was too fearful of the world to go out and get fucked, too plagued by hang-ups, memories of shitty girlfriends, fears of violence. Instead I took photos.’
An excerpt from Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman.
‘The more he thought about it, the more he realised that his fascination came from seeing the essence of life extinguished. The fear and confusion and pain.’
Ntsika Kota is the winner of the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
‘I sensed that as she listened she looked right through my skull and saw the cringing figure living there, the figure that keeps guard over all my secret strategies and disguises.’
A story from Ralf Webb.
‘My body was rejecting my new face. There was a zero point zero zero five per cent chance of it happening, but it was undeniable: my new skin was clamoring to get out.’
A story by Ysabelle Cheung.
‘There is no last straw, no full stop. It is tiredness, pure exhaustion – that is all – that finally leads James to take some things, get on the bus, and, like an animal seeking a bed of straw on which to die, go home.’
A story by Niamh Donnelly.
‘You can bathe it and clothe it and feed it empty air and put it to bed with the lullabies you imagine a mother should be singing to a baby. All the same, the doll, like all dolls, cannot even be called dead, as it was never alive.’
An extract from Yiyun Li’s novel A Book of Goose.
Feature image © Maureen Barlin